Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Sign Up For Mailing List Button

Donate to Genetic Alliance

Disease Search Button

Gene Patenting

Facebook icon
Google+ icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon icon
Digg icon

On June 13, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that human genes cannot be patented.
The term “gene patent” refers to intellectual property protections that currently cover non-naturally occurring DNA molecules such as cDNA and recombinant DNA molecules, as well as isolated genes or small portions of DNA from a gene. Patents on the non-naturally occurring DNA molecules such as cDNA and recombinant DNA protect the vast majority of medically and commercially important biotechnology products that have been developed over the half-quarter century. The availability of intellectual property protections for such genetic material can have significant implications for the research and manufacture of potential treatments for diseases, such as the artificial creation of therapeutic proteins. However, there has been significant controversy over the patentability of naturally occurring DNA fragments that are isolated from the human genome. With the immense technological advances of commercially available whole genome sequencing, it is becoming more affordable for a patient to have his or her own relevant genetic information sequenced for use in connection with the patient’s own medical care. Genetic Alliance agrees with the Supreme Court ruling of 2013 that patents on individual human genes or fragments of such individual human genes should not be awarded.
Genetic Alliance believes that patents for non-naturally occurring DNA molecules such as cDNA and recombinant DNA provide important incentives and protections for the research and development of life-saving treatments. However, we agree with the Court that patents on whole genes or fragments of genes restrict the options patients have to control their own medical care. We recognize that patents provide incentives and protections for biomedically important research, but we also recognize that patents on naturally occurring fragments of DNA could be exploited against the interest of the patients. A narrow stance of supporting the patentability of non-naturally occurring DNA molecules and the patent ineligibility of isolated genes or DNA fragments strikes a difficult but appropriate balance between supporting the advancement of research and development of genetic treatments and the interests of patients. We further believe that although it is the right of companies to create proprietary databases of the variation they discover, it is not ethical to keep this information as trade secrets. Not only the genes, but the variation that comes from genes belongs to the people. We actively work toward freeing this data and placing it in open databases. For more information see

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
Google+ icon
YouTube icon
RSS icon

4301 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 404, Washington DC 20008-2369 | Tel: 202.966.5557 | Fax: 202.966.8553 | EIN 52-1571905

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.